Have you ever attended any networking events? If so, you know you have very little time to try and make a professional connection. To utilize this time in the best possible way, many networking experts recommend you develop what is known as an ‘elevator pitch’. We’ll explain exactly what this is, and how to do it effectively after the break.
What Is an Elevator Pitch?
An elevator pitch can be used in multiple different situations and capacities. It gets it’s name from the length it should last: about 30 seconds to a minute. In that time frame (approximately the length of a short elevator ride) you have to get across everything you want to say. An elevator pitch can be used in many different types of situations. It’s a great way to make a quick sale, but our purposes are slightly different. We’ll be discussing using an elevator pitch as a networking tool.
There is a great way to think of the elevator pitch to make it understandable. Envision it as a commercial where you’re selling your own personal brand. Television commercials are usually very short. They are no longer than 30 seconds and have to highlight all the high points in that time slot. This should be your goal for an elevator pitch. There are a few specific ‘selling points’ you should keep in mind.
Minding the Material
To start, the elevator pitch in it’s basest form is going to be about what you’re looking for and how you could benefit an organization. However, this is just the basics. You’ll want to attempt to include all of your best skills. It should be interesting, memorable, and succinct. It’s also incredibly important you don’t use jargon. Talking about your industry can make it tempting to do so, but resist the urge. This could alienate the person you are attempting to connect with.
One of the best ways to tackle what to say is to begin with a lot of information and whittle it down. Ask yourself these questions:
- Who am I?
- What do I do?
- Why do I enjoy my job/career?
- What makes me unique as an employee?
- Which of my skills is the most valuable to an organization?
- How can I demonstrate my value?
Making a Lasting Impression
Once you have these answer, refine that list short and shorter until it fits in our ideal 30-60 second slot. Once you have something you’re happy with, you’re all set! There are a few things to remember even after you’ve conceptualized the pitch.
First, you don’t want to have it memorized or sound rehearsed. It’s okay to have it in mind and even practice beforehand. However you don’t want it to sound robotic and unenthusiastic. Second, although we’re in the digital age, business cards are still ideal for these kinds of exchanges. Make sure you keep a couple on yourself at all times, especially if you’re networking or job searching. You never know when you’ll need to give that elevator pitch!